- ST Jan 11, 2010
Pre-school is affordable
A VARIETY of schemes and grants has helped make pre-school education affordable for low and mid-income families, said Minister of Education Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on Monday.
These have ensured that over 97 per cent of children from each cohort do attend pre-school before they enter Primary One, even though pre-school has not been nationalised.
Mr Ng was addressing the concerns of MPs in Parliament that pre-school education would be out of reach for the low-income unless the system is nationalised.
Nominated MP Viswa Sadasivan expressed the worry that children who do not go through pre-school education will start primary school at a disadvantage. 'It is very important for us to make sure that access is universal,' he said.
Most people assume that kids ought to go to kindergarten. And that if the kids don't go, it's because the parents are too poor, or the family is dysfunctional.
Well, my daughter finished Kindergarten One last year. And this year we are not sending her to Kindergarten Two. (Oh, we are also neither poor nor dysfunctional).
What happened? Well, we realised that she was under-challenged and quite bored in Kindergarten One. It was basically a waste of her time.
She's somewhat more advanced than most kids her age. For example, she doesn't have any problems reading her big brother's Primary 2 textbooks.
Instead of sending her to a normal kindergarten, we are now sending her for a couple of enrichment courses. Maths; Chinese; English; Speech & Drama .... and she has swimming lessons too.
Does it sound like a lot? It's not. The total time she spends in class is less than half of what she would spend, if she were attending kindergarten every day. After all, most of these enrichment courses are only once a week.
These courses are more challenging than the typical K2 syllabus. You'll have to pick & choose your enrichment courses and schools, of course.
The rest of the time - the girl is at home. I supply plenty of books, toys and art materials, to keep her occupied.
I suppose it could get lonely, if she were an only child. But she's not. Apart from the fact that she has a big brother to play with, my wife does also regularly take her to play with other kids.
I don't know any other parents who have done what we've done with our daughter (I mean - about taking her out of kindergarten). Still I must say that so far, it seems to work quite well.